Driven: Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Coupe

Mercedes-AMG are doing their best to make sure we don’t miss V8 engines with a straight six-pot featuring more crackling than a really thick Eisbein.

This is the Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Coupe. Note, I did not say the E63. For now, that badge doesn’t live here. Instead, you have a 3.0 litre inline 6-cylinder under its steely hood. The noise, oh the noise – all the spitting and crackling artillery fire you’d ever want in an AMG. This slippery sliver will do the 100kph in just 4.4 seconds and I mean. Come right on. That’ll do just fine.

The boosted petrol motor’s 320kW and 520Nm have been further augmented by an additional electric compressor (dubbed EQ Boost) to the atmospheric tune of 336kW and 770Nm. Bill Nye was right, science rules! AMG’s 4Matic+ system has the arduous task of reigning it all in via the 9sp dual-clutch auto, just know it will happily pour the entire wicked mix straight onto the 19-inch rears if that is what you desire.

It will top out at 250kph unless you spec the Drivers Package in which case you’ll clock 270kph. Consumer journalism for the win. On that note, fuel consumption (like you care) sits at a theoretical 8.9l/100km. We won’t be achieving that today. Oh, and it costs R1,618mil before hop-ups.

BUT HOW DOES IT REALLY GO
Well, for that I must drive, so drive hard I did. We all have our favourite loops of cambered tarmac, dynamic delights that allow us to safely and consistently test out acceleration and grip. Mine, from my front door, incorporates all of the above and can be measured at 80 thrilling kilometres. It was here that the E53 went full-blown noisemaker, its raspy inline-six making all the right sounds that I’d describe (perhaps with some controversy) as hauntingly familiar of an M Division soundtrack, but with the overrun crackle best sourced from Affalterbach. Handling is somewhat on the softer end, but still sweetly balanced for compliancy over pockmarked tar, yet firm when you need it whilst chasing deep into the apex. It is in two words ‘confidence inspiring’. And that says a lot considering you have this much power underfoot. The cabin is sumptuous, well-appointed and exciting. And the manettino-style mode selector on the helm makes for a quick, accessible and flirtatious mood dial. From here you can also access the traction and exhaust settings or simply do as I do and leave it in Sport+ twenty-four seven, 365.

In short, as far as Goldilocks sports saloons go, this six-cylindered coupe from AMG is just right. Sharp as a tack, loud as a rock concert, and as rubberneck-inducing as they come. That it’s comfortable and clever is a bonus, but then this is a R1.7mil car so it bloody better be. If anything this price serves as a good indication of where a V8-powered E63 would land, one could guess north of R2mil. But I reckon, you’d be just as happy with this, the less expensive E53.

Quick Spec: Mercedes-AMG E53 4Matic+ Coupe
Price: R1,618,000
Powertrain: 3.0-litre, inline 6-cyl petrol-electric hybrid, 9-speed auto, RWD, 336kW/770Nm, 270kph top speed

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